Week 4 Waiver Wire: Handcuff Running Backs Lead the Way

Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears
Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 4 - Week 4 is a big week for handcuff running backs. Khalil Herbert and Jamaal Williams may be thrust into workhorse roles in Week 4 (and potentially more), while Alexander Mattison remains the top insurance option with Dalvin Cook not expected to miss time. When it comes to drops, I like to get through Week 4 before I start looking to cut ties with underperforming players drafted in the middle rounds, except for the obvious case of season-ending injuries. Here are the top pickups ahead of Week 4.


There aren't as many quality starters widely available this week, but if you’re desperate, consider adding one of these two quarterbacks:


  • Jacoby Brissett – CLE (1.5% rostered ESPN; 4% Yahoo!)
    • We know Brissett isn’t going to throw 40 passes a game, given Cleveland’s emphasis on the run game. And can you blame them with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt? But what Brissett does have going for him is efficiency. Brissett is 11th in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt and 9th in QBR. He’s thrown for 220+ yards in consecutive games with a 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. After finishing as QB10 in Week 3, Brissett is QB16 on the season. In Week 4, he faces a Falcons team who’s given up the 10th most fantasy points to QBs through 3 games.


  • Marcus Mariota – ATL (25.1% rostered ESPN; 22% Yahoo!)
    • Mariota hasn’t matched his Week 1 performance, which was buoyed by 72 rushing yards, but he’s led the Falcons to three straight 25+ point performances. He’s had some turnover issues, throwing three interceptions in the last two games and losing one fumble in each of the first three games. However, he’s still QB13 on the season. He’s likely to face negative game-scripts throughout the season, forcing him to throw the ball more than just the 20 passes he attempted in Week 3 against Seattle. His rushing output has decreased in each game so far, but he still has some rushing upside. He’s not a priority pickup, but he’s one of the best widely-available options, if you’re hurting at the position.


  • Other QBs <40% rostered worth considering
    • Jared Goff – DET (30.7% ESPN; 21% Yahoo!)
    • Zach Wilson – NYJ (5.7% ESPN; 6% Yahoo!)

Running Backs

The biggest pickups this week are handcuff RBs potentially in line for a starting role. However, a couple of them also have standalone value. If any are available in your league, do what you need to do to acquire them.


  • Khalil Herbert – CHI (25.2% rostered ESPN; 49% Yahoo!)
    • Herbert was featured here in Week 1, but this will be the last week he’s less than 50% rostered. He stepped in for David Montgomery after Montgomery managed just three carries before injury. Herbert gained 157 yards on 20 carries and found the end zone twice. He saw a 67% opportunity share, 13th among running backs in Week 3. In four games without Montgomery in 2021, Herbert averaged nearly 22 touches and 97 yards per game. In five games where he’s played at least 50% of the snaps, he’s rushed for at least 75 yards in all five. If Montgomery misses time, Herbert would likely step into a heavy workload in a Bears offense adamant about running the ball. He’s the top add of the week, and you should spend whatever you need to get him.


  • Jamaal Williams – DET (44.3% rostered ESPN; 62% Yahoo!)
    • While D’Andre Swift has been the efficient part of the Lions backfield, Williams has seen the bulk of the rushing volume. Williams has seen 43 attempts to Swift’s 27, but has been outrushed 231-168. Where a large part of Williams’ value comes, though, is in the red zone: he’s seen a league-high 8 carries inside the 10-yard line, scoring on 3 of those. He’s received 5 carries inside the 5-yard line, tied for second-most in the league. Swift has just 1 and rush inside the 10 and none inside the 5. With Swift now likely to miss time with a shoulder sprain, in addition to his lingering ankle injury, Williams is due for even more work. He is a must-add where available.


  • Alexander Mattison – MIN (37.1% rostered ESPN; 55% Yahoo)
    • Alexander Mattison came into the game and scored a touchdown after Dalvin Cook left with a shoulder injury. Sound familiar? Cook isn’t expected to miss Sunday’s game in London, and he was great while wearing a shoulder harness last season. However, Mattison should be a top add in any league he’s available, in the event Cook misses time. All we’ve seen Mattison do when called upon is produce: in the four games Cook missed last season, Mattison averaged 21.5 carries and 5.5 targets per game, scoring 3 touchdowns and averaging 21.7 PPR points per game. 


  • Other RB <20% rostered worth considering
    • Samaje Perine – CIN (3.7% rostered ESPN; 6% Yahoo!)
    • Sony Michel – LAC (4.2% ESPN; 4% Yahoo!)
    • Tyler Allgeier – ATL (18.7% ESPN; 15% Yahoo!)

Wide Receivers

There were some big performances from less-rostered receivers in Week 3. The wide receiver position deep, as usual, so consider these players if you're lacking at the position.


  • Mack Hollins – LV (1.0% rostered ESPN; 2% Yahoo!)
    • Hollins exploded in Week 3, finishing as the overall WR2. He tied Davante Adams for the team-high in targets with 10, led the team in receptions (8) and yards (158), and found the end zone. With Hunter Renfrow out due to a concussion, Hollins was on the field for 97% of the snaps, second behind Adams’ 100% and well ahead of Keelan Cole at only 57% and ran a route on 96% of dropbacks. His massive output is unlikely to continue moving forward, due to Renfrow’s potential return in Week 4. But Hollins was involved even with Renfrow on the field, seeing 87% of the snaps in Week 2 (compared to Renfrow’s 69%), running a route on 93% of dropbacks, and catching 5-of-8 targets for 66 yards. Hollins is worth an add in the event Renfrow does not return for Week 4, but could offer some value even with Renfrow back in the fold.
  • Romeo Doubs – GB (16.2% ESPN; 27% Yahoo!)
    • Doubs garnered all the preseason hype in Green Bay while the Packers’ top-drafted receiver Christian Watson missed time. With Watson and Sammy Watkins out for Week 3, Doubs received a much larger role against Tampa Bay. He played on 89% of the offensive snaps, second behind Allen Lazard, and ran a route on 94% of dropbacks, most on the team. Both Doubs and Lazard scored a touchdown, but it was Doubs who led the team in targets (8) and yards (73). He seems to have taken over the WR2 role in this offense, if not a WR1B role, with others missing time. We know the Packers want to run the ball, but with the back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers’ trust, Doubs is a top add this week.
  • Greg Dortch – ARI (7.3% rostered ESPN; 17% Yahoo!)
    • Greg Dortch has been on waiver wire lists every week so far and is still rostered in less than 10% of ESPN leagues and less than 20% of Yahoo! leagues. He’s seen target totals of 9, 4, and 10, and has turned those 23 targets into a 20-198-1 line, scoring at least 13 PPR points in all three games. He’s been on the field for more than 80% of the snaps in two of three games, run a route on 85% or more of dropbacks in two of three, and played more than 70% of snaps in all three. Dortch is currently WR19 on the season. Given the state of the Cardinals offense, Kyler Murray should continue throwing the ball often, and Dortch should continue to see work while DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore remain out.


  • Other WR <20% rostered worth considering
    • Zay Jones – JAX (8.7% ESPN; 10% Yahoo!)
    • Richie James – NYG (2.2% ESPN; 4% Yahoo!)
    • Isaiah McKenzie – BUF (14.2% ESPN; 42% Yahoo!)

Tight Ends

Tight end remains a tough position in fantasy. Mark Andrews continued his dominance and Kyle Pitts finally showed signs of life in Week 3. But unless you drafted one of the top guys, you may still be looking for a weekly starter or you're streaming the position. Don't look past these names if they're on your league's waiver wire.


  • David Njoku – CLE (32.8% rostered ESPN; 51% Yahoo!)
    • We finally got the big game we hoped for from one of draft season’s top sleeper tight ends. Njoku caught 9 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s TNF victory over Pittsburgh. He played on 88% of the snaps and ran a route on 82% of dropbacks, 7th most among tight ends in Week 3. His 10 targets were just one behind Amari Cooper’s team-high 11, good for a 32% target share, and three of them came in the red zone. He’s now seen 25% of the Browns’ targets over the last two weeks. The usage gives him the opportunity to produce every week, so add Njoku immediately if he was dropped in your league.


  • Tyler Conklin – NYJ (11.5% rostered ESPN; 21% Yahoo!)
    • Conklin is the overall TE3 through the season’s first three weeks, scoring double-digit fantasy points in each of the Jets’ first three games. He’s received target totals of 7, 9, and 8, catching 18 of them for 140 yards and a touchdown. In Week 3, Conklin ran a route on 73% of Joe Flacco’s dropbacks, 11th most among tight ends. He didn’t see any red zone targets, but if the usage continues, those will come. With Zach Wilson expected to return in Week 4, we’ll have to see if that usage does continue, but given his production thus far, he’s one of the top adds at fantasy’s shallowest position.


  • Other TE <40% rostered worth considering
    • Robert Tonyan – GB (16.0% ESPN; 29% Yahoo!)
    • Daniel Bellinger – NYG (0.3% ESPN; 1% Yahoo!)
    • Will Dissly – SEA (0.4% ESPN; 1% Yahoo!)


1 comment, Last at 28 Sep 2022, 11:51pm

#1 by Terminatorx2198 // Sep 28, 2022 - 11:51pm

You guys used to do these they were so nice for streaming :' (

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